From 16th to 18th June 2016, the XIV Symposium of Mexican Studies and Students “Knowledge into Solutions” took place for the first time in Edinburgh, Scotland. The organising committee consisted of students from Mexican Society of the University of Edinburgh (Mexican Society UoE) and the Mexican Society in the UK (MexSoc UK). Around 160 delegates attended the event from the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and Mexico. Conacyt and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh funded the event.
The Symposium’s guest and keynote speakers are all highly recognised in their field of expertise or for their service to the country (Mexico). His Excellency David Najera Rivas, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Mexico in the United Kingdom, introduced the Symposium by examining how Mexico benefits from students in the UK. From the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT) MSc Pablo Rojo, Dr Oliverio Santiago, and Dr Agustin Escobar Latapi explored and discussed job and research opportunities that await in Mexico for students after finishing their degrees in the UK or any other country. Ms Anca Martin, from the British Council, gave a presentation on the “Newton Fund and Innovation Mexico – UK.”
Professor Arturo Reyes-Sandoval, who is well known for his work on Malaria and Zika virus vaccines at the University of Oxford, talked about “Perspective of Mexican academics in the UK”. From the University of St Andrews, Professor Will Fowler, renowned for his research on Mexican and Latin American politics, presented on “The Lion, the Unicorn, and the Plumed Serpent. Mexican–British Relations Since Independence.”
Speakers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) also gave a presentation at the event. Namely, Dr Luis Durán, director of the Mexican Cultural Centre (a collaboration between King’s College London and UNAM), showcased the Centre activities in “Connecting the UK and Mexico”; Dr Enrique Caceres Nieto, Lecturer of Law, talked about “The Lucifer effect vs. the San Jorge Effect, an analysis of Corruption as an emerging property.” From the National Autonomous University (UAM), Dr Gabriela Dutrenit talked about innovation in Mexico in a video conference.
Around 100 students presented their work and research at the parallel sessions with topics ranging from Science to Social Science and Humanities. Students also showcased their research in poster presentations and round tables. Veronica Garcia, PhD student at the University of Glasgow and Miguel Xochicale, PhD student at the University of Birmingham, won the prize for best Poster Presentations this year.
Miguel Alvarez Nunez, president of the Mexican Society in the UK, hosted a session to talk about the importance of promoting and encouraging Mexican students to be part of the Mexican community in the UK. Attendees voted at the session for the XV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies, taking place in 2017, to be a by the Mexican Society at the University of Durham.
The event was highly successful and received excellent feedback from the delegates as well as the University of Edinburgh. James Smith, Vice Principal International, commented on the Mexican Society UoE and the organisation of the Symposium:
“I would like to thank the University of Edinburgh’s Mexican Society who I know that in my kind of experience sitting at the centre of the University is definitely one of the most active if not the most active national student society and that’s something to be very proud of. You are everywhere all the time doing things, and that’s the purpose of these student societies. Thank you for that. But, in particular, I’d like to thank you for organising this event. It’s a huge event, interesting and it’ll be exciting over the next few days.”
Finally, Samuel Casasola Zamora, lead organiser of this Symposium’s edition and Cultural Officer at the MexSoc UK, said:
“I deeply thank CONACyT and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh for funding this event, the Symposium’s organising committee, whose efforts were reflected in the success of this event, and the volunteers, whose help and support has been invaluable throughout these three days. I am also very much looking forward to the XV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies in Durham next year.”
By Selina Aragon